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bounce in Xi'an
a deeper look (7/06)
comes to Virginia (7/06)
Part 1 (11/05)
Part 1 (10/05)
College in China
of God (2/05)
for a new mother (10/24)
Diggs at NIM (4/4)
Earthen Houses (2/14)
Baptists arrive for 2002 SEP, Shanghai - Nanjing
2: in Jining, the program begins
and Wudang Temple
and Sarah in Xi'an
the Nestorian Pagoda
Washington comes to China, Part
SEP '05 in Qingyang
Here they are, all six Virginia Baptist participants
in Amity's 2005 Summer English Program. What? You count seven? You're
right, but only for a few hours from the afternoon of July 22 until the
morning of July 23 were all seven together in one place. Bobby, back row,
left, was part of the team from the beginning through July 22, but he had
another assignment (see "Bobby and Ryan in Xi'an") beginning on
July 23, so Lynn, back row, second from right, came to take his place for
the last ten days. Back row, from left: Bobby, Kim, Lynn, and Tiffany;
front row, from left: Claire, Sharon, and Penny, the team leader. And a
choice group they are.
During orientation in Nanjing, there is always a
closing worship. Virginia Baptists are usually very prominent in the choir
and this year was no exception. Kim had been invited to be the director
and four other team members participated.
Leaving Nanjing on July 7, the team (and I) flew to
Xi'an, the nearest city with an airport, were met by Mr. Gao, an
administrator for the program, and a vehicle with drivers. It took about
six hours to drive from Xi'an airport (in Sha'anxi Province) to Qingyang
in Gansu Province, where the program would be held in Longdong University.
The participants are middle school English teachers, mostly from a rural
area northwest of the city. After a day to settle in, the program began
with an opening ceremony and then interviews to determine each person's
oral English level, an opening banquet (see the lovely gifts of Qingyang
embroidery work? ) and then more interviews. Classes began that afternoon.
Longdong University is the only institution of
higher learning in eastern Gansu Province (in northwest China). It has a
fairly large campus downtown and a larger one further out on the edge of
town. The main focus of the school is on training teachers, but there are
other disciplines. The Qingyang area specializes in embroidery objects as
decorations and embroidered pictures that look like pantings.
Manufacturers export their products throughout China and the world.
The schedule for the SEP in Qingyang called for
classes each morning, 8:30-11:30, with the three upper level classes
rotating among three teachers and the three lower oral level classes
rotating among the other three teachers. In the afternoons, 2:30-4:30, the
activities are more informal and may or may not be divided into smaller
groups. Afternoon activities include: a mock wedding, a birthday party,
Christmas celebration, English games, and English corner, which is a more
freeform discussion time.
The church in Qingyang was neither big nor
elaborate, but the spirit of the worshippers was warm. On the first Sunday
the group attended, the members of the church took up an offering to help
a neighboring area that had no church building even though their own
building, with backless benches for pews, and concrete floors, was very
Spartan and could have benefited from some additional amenities. The
Chinese characters on either side of the cross mean: "Emmanuel,"
which Scripture says means, "God with us."
The program ended on July 30; the group flew to
Beijing for debriefing and sightseeing (and American food!) and then
departed for further travel in China or to return to the U.S. to resume
their busy lives, forever changed and carrying new Chinese friends in
On the highway between Xi'an and Qingyang was a
large grotto, or temple, with a large stone front apparently attached to
the mountain. . I didnít know what to expect at this place,
or probably, I should say I expected the usual Buddhist temple, with rooms
holding a variety of Buddha images, and they did have those, but when I
climbed up to the middle level, which was already fairly high above the
surrounding landscape, and walked by an archway, I looked in and found
this Buddha head as big as the archway looking back at me. I walked into
the archway and discovered that in a huge cave were three very large
three-dimensional Buddha figures. The two on the sides were female, but
the one in the center was a traditional Buddha.